YORK City Knights suffered a club record defeat in the Betfred Championship as they were thrashed 100-4 by league leaders Leigh Centurions.

York were always going to be up against it at the Leigh Sports Village. They travelled to a star-studded Leigh, who entered the contest on a 21-match winning streak in the league, with just 17 players owing to 10 unavailable players.

More importantly, they came up against a very special Leigh side who were ranked as second-favourites for promotion behind Featherstone Rovers during the off-season but now seemed destined for a return to Betfred Super League.

With that said, to concede 100 points for the first time in their history as the Knights and to concede such tries in that second half is a huge concern as was James Ford’s criticism of his side’s lack of effort or desire.

While results elsewhere secures York’s play-off spot, a sixth defeat from their last eight matches, and one of this magnitude, means the Knights face an almighty task to resurrect their season.

Down to the bare bones, York were without 10 players at Leigh, with five dropping out from the side which lost 20-16 at home to Bradford Bulls last time out.

Brendan O’Hagan, Pauli Pauli, Danny Kirmond and Jordan Thompson all missed out through injury, with Leigh loanee Ata Hingano unable to play against his parent club.

As a result, Myles Harrison and Tom Inman returned, bringing York’s tally of teenagers in their 17 up to three, while Jamie Ellis was back involved after a five-match absence. Marcus Stock and Joe Porter returned to the forward pack.

Leigh needed just four minutes to get on the scoreboard, with Lachlan Lam, son of coach Adrian, getting the first of the 17 Centurions tries.

Sam Stone broke the line for the hosts before Caleb Aekins allowed Lam to touch down under the posts.

From bang in front, Krisnan Inu scored his 100th Championship goal of the year. The centre would finish with 16 conversions from 17 attempts.

York managed a brief period of pressure there after, winning a fortunate drop-out after Leigh failed to deal with the restart.

From there, the Knights twice targeted Leigh’s right although some good scramble defence on York St John University student AJ Towse by former Australia international winger Blake Ferguson first denied the visitors before Matty Marsh was penalised for an obstruction.

Leigh hit back through a quick-fire brace from Joe Mellor who, after his innovate give-and-go play with Aaron Smith won a drop-out, took Tom Amone’s pass to ground before Lam’s break allowed the half-back his brace.

On 24 minutes, York managed to salvage some pride by getting on the scoreboard. A smart shift play saw Marsh send Joe Brown in at the corner. Jamie Ellis’ conversion struck the post.

The Centurions needed only a handful of minutes to reply, again doing so with another pair of rapid tries.

First, Edwin Ipape produced one of Leigh’s countless offloads for Mellor to put Stone over.

Then, against some tiring visiting defence, Ed Chamberlain strolled over on the right flank after Towse shot out of the line.

Leigh capped the half with a late score, bringing the half-time score to 36-4. Amone was the man to score it following a fine offload from the terrific Asiata to Ipape who put the prop over.

Ipape was involved again five minutes after the restart, exploding out of dummy half before handing off for Ioane to cross. From there, the floodgate was wide open.

York’s defenders left Lam untacked in the middle before Chamberlain’s inside run took him over.

Mellor secured his hat-trick moments later when he squirmed past Ronan Dixon, bringing up the half-century. The treble hero then offloaded for Kai O’Donnell to reach out to the line, scoring Leigh’s 10th try of the afternoon.

By this point, Myles Harrison was on the wing for the first time in his York career, further highlighting York’s injury woes.

Leigh were breaking through at will and Ipape’s break from his own half was finished off by Stone before an Asiata offload began a move which Keanan Brand finished. Inu went on to miss from the tee for the first time from an overall 17 attempts.

Trailing 74-4 with seven minutes left, the hosts incredibly scored five further tries as York were mentally and physically gone.

Captain Adam SIdlow got on the scoresheet from Asiata’s pass before Mellor’s sublime kick was grounded by Aekins.

The scorer turned provider when he handed off to Ferguson in the corner before Inu scored his first try of the afternoon through a left-side overlap.

As the fans roared on for the hundred in the final minute, Leigh somehow went from one side of the field to the other as Inu scored the final try.

Thankfully for York, the final hooter put the Knights out of their misery, for now at least. Whether they are to come through the other side of this for the rest of the season is another question.

Leigh: Aekins, Charnley, Chamberlain, Inu, Ferguson, Mellor, Lam, Sidlow, Smith, Amone, Wardle, Stone, Asiata.

Subs (all used): Brand, Ioane, Ipape, O’Donnell.

Tries: Lam (4’), Mellor (17’, 19’, 52’), Stone (28’, 58’), Chamberlain (31’, 49’), Amone (40’), Ioane (45’), O’Donnell (55’), Brand (61’), Sidlow (73’), Aekins (75’), Ferguson (77’), Inu (79’), Smith (80’)

Goals: Inu (16/17)

York: Marsh, Brown, Glover, Ogden, Towse, Harris, Ellis, Teanby, Jubb, Michael, Stock, Antrobus, Clarkson.

Subs (all used): Dixon, Harrison, Porter, Inman.

Tries: Brown (24’)

Goals: Ellis (1/1)

York’s star man: AJ Towse. Showed fight on the wing given his age and experience.

Referee: Robert Hicks

Attendance: 2,744

Penalties/Six-agains: 4-2

Goal-line drop-outs forced: 1-1